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July 2023

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

Greetings, SPARTA followers. It is hard to believe that 2023 is half over, but the heat and humidity in North Carolina confirms that we are in the middle of summer. Vacations are being taken and kids are getting excited about returning to school soon – no, probably not.

This month, we will again be holding our SPARTA meetings via Zoom format. We'd like to consider going back to our in-person meetings if we can find an appropriate venue. Let us know if you have any suggestions for a meeting location.

For our July meeting, join us for an interesting presentation from Todd Havekost of Intellimagic. Todd will explain a methodology for analyzing SMF data for maximum value and exploitation. Invite your fellow systems programmers to join us for this informative and interesting virtual meeting.

Please join your colleagues online at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 11, on Zoom. Watch for speaker details and meeting connection information coming your way soon.

Randy Springs
Retired (Truist)

Future Speakers (subject to change)

July 11, 2023 (Special Date) - Insights You Can Gain from ... SMF Data by Todd Havekost of Intellimagic

August 1, 2023 - TBA

September 12, 2023 (Special Date) - SHARE New Orleans 2023 Report by Ed Webb of SPARTA

We need ideas and volunteers for future speakers. Presentations don’t have to be fancy, just informative and interesting. Even a 5 or 10 minute talk can start an interesting interaction. Contact Ron Pimblett by phone as noted below.

2023-2024 SPARTA

Board of Directors

Randy Springs - President

Retired (Truist)                  (919) nnn-nnnn


Raleigh, NC 27604

Ron Pimblett - Vice President

MDI Data Systems

Land line 613 599 6970

Mobile 613 981 6919

190 Guelph Private

Kanata, ON K2T 0J7

Chris Blackshire - Secretary

Retired (Dell, Perot Systems, Nortel)  (919) nnn-nnnn


Durham, NC 27713

Randy Springs - (Acting) Treasurer

Retired (Truist)                  (919) nnn-nnnn

see Randy

Springs earlier

Ed Webb -  Communications Director

Retired (SAS Institute Inc.)  (919) nnn-nnnn


Apex, NC 27523

Mike Lockey -  Web Master

Guilford Co. Information Services  336-641-6235

201 N. Eugene St.

Greensboro, NC 27401


Coronavirus Change: All meetings for the foreseeable future will be held online at 7 p.m. via the Zoom App. The link to meeting is sent to SPARTA Mailing list within 24 hours of the meeting time for security reasons. Stay safe.

Meetings are scheduled for the first Tuesday evening of each month (except no meeting in January), with optional dinner at 6:15 p.m. and the meeting beginning at 7:00 p.m.

These monthly meetings usually are held at LabCorp’s Center for Molecular Biology and Pathology (CMBP) near the Research Triangle Park (see last page). Take I-40 to Miami Boulevard and go north. Turn right onto T.W. Alexander Drive. Go about a mile or so. Then turn right into LabCorp complex and turn Left to the CMBP Building (1912 T.W. Alexander Drive). In the lobby, sign in as a visitor to see Bill Johnson. Bill will escort you to the conference room.

Call for Articles

If you have any ideas for speakers, presentations, newsletter articles, or are interested in taking part in a presentation, PLEASE contact one of the Board of Directors with your suggestions.

Newsletter e-Mailings

The SPARTA policy is to e-mail a monthly notice to our SPARTA-RTP Group. The newsletter is posted to the website about five (5) days before each meeting so you can prepare. The SPARTA distribution List is maintained by Chris Blackshire; if you have corrections or problems receiving your meeting notice, contact Chris at

April 2023 “CBT Tape” Shareware Online

The directory and files from the latest CBT tape V505 (dated April 24, 2023) are available from

If you need help obtaining one or more files, contact Ed Webb (see Board of Director’s list for contact info).

Minutes of the June 6, 2023 Meeting

• The June 6, 2023 meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM by Randy Springs, the SPARTA President.

• This Thirty-fourth (April 2020 to June 2023) virtual SPARTA meeting was held via the Zoom Software.

• Eleven (11) people were present at the virtual meeting.

• The business portion of the meeting followed the presentation.

• An abbreviated name-only round table was conducted.


• The minutes of the May 2, 2023 meeting as published in the June 2023 Newsletter were approved.

• The May 31, 2023 Treasurer's report (there was No Activity to-date in 2023) as published in the June 2023 Newsletter was approved. As of May 31, 2023, the current balance is $994.51.

• Call For Articles: Articles are needed for this newsletter. If you would like to write an article for this newsletter, please contact Ed Webb. Keep in mind that you don't really need to write the article, it can be an article that you read that you would like to share with the membership.

• The SPARTA Web page is available at this site: Please send any comments or suggestions about the Web page to Mike Lockey. Be sure to check the Web page every once in a while to see any new or changed information.

• 2023 meeting dates, Future Speakers and Topics (subject to change based on internal politics, budget, the weather):





July 11, 2023
Special Date




August 1, 2023




September 12, 2023
Special Date

Retired (SAS)

Ed Webb

SHARE Update New Orleans, LA
Aug 13-18, 2023

October 3, 2023




November 7, 2023




December 5, 2023




If you have suggestions about speakers and topics, contact Ron Pimblett.

• The next SPARTA monthly meeting will be held virtually on Tuesday, July 11, 2023 (a week later due to the July 4 Holiday on our regular day).

• The annual dues have been suspended (motion passed in the March 2021 monthly meeting).

• Thanks to Randy Springs for online hosting the June 6 meeting via Zoom.

• There are currently about 100 people on the SPARTA e-mail distribution list.

• Send any e-mail address changes to Chris Blackshire so he can update the SPARTA distribution List. The SPARTA meeting notices are being sent via a simple distribution list maintained by Chris.

• Randy Springs is looking for a new Treasurer volunteer. He projects about 2 hours per month is needed.
- Contact Randy Springs if you are interested.

• Randy Springs has setup a SPARTA group on LinkedIn. Please join.

• There was discussion about a possible 2023 in-person meeting, depending on vaccinations and room availability. Stay tuned.
- LabCorp Future Meeting Place: No update from Bill Johnson.
- Jay Hall will look into using a NCSU Centennial Campus room.


• We will continue meeting virtually for now with a future in-person meeting date TBD. Stay tuned.
• Randy will contact Bill Johnson to determine the LabCorp meeting place status.
• The Business portion of the meeting ended about 8:30 P.M.

• The Presentation started at 7:05 PM.

• Presentation Topic: Unlocking Performance Monitoring Data for Analytics via Improved Observability

By Jim Porell, Principal Software Architect, Rocket Software

Prep Questions for SPARTA
- Are you using either Docker or OpenShift zCX containers yet?
- Does anyone in your organization use an Analytics monitoring tool: Elastic, Splunk, Instana, Datadog, Dynatrace, etc?
- Do you attend the OMEGAMON Tech Summit virtual meetings? (Sep 2021, May 2022, Oct 2022)
- - Next one is June 27th
- Do you leverage the IBM Community for z AIOps?
- - IBM Community for z AIOps

Executive Summary
- Customers have already proven to benefit financially and reduce their time to resolve issues through AI and ML
- AI/ML is not a product…it’s technology that can be applied to any product
- OMEGAMON is embracing AI/ML to improve its handling of performance management
- Customer input is needed to improve the training of models. IBM and Rocket are looking for sponsor users for this new journey
- I want you to enjoy this…nothing earth shattering except where the new technology can take us!

• Agenda
- ODP re-visited – a demo
- - Elastic
- - Grafana
- - Mobile
- Instana
- - Youtube demo
- OMEGAMON AI Insights Demo

The online presentation ended at about 8:15 PM.

• Presentation Access - See Below for a full outline of the presentation.

See the SPARTA webpage for all recent presentations including this one.

Contact Info:
Speaker: Jim Porell. Principal Software Architect
Rocket Software
Phone: 781-684-3623

• The June 6, 2023 monthly meeting ended about 8:30 P.M.

Treasurer’s Report for June 2023

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $994.51 as of June 30, 2023.

SPARTA Financial Report
06/01/2023 through 06/30/2023


Opening Balance 04/1/2023


Total Deposits

Food money donated











Web Site


Petty Cash


Bank Service Charges






PETTY CASH on hand




Items of Interest

SPARTA Schedule and Menu for 2023

contributed by Chris Blackshire

July 11, 2023 - Subs (July 4 holiday falls on the first Tuesday meeting date)
Aug 1, 2023 - BarBQ
Sept 12, 2023 - Pizza (Labor Day holiday is Monday Sept 4)
Oct 3, 2023 - Chicken
Nov 7, 2023 - Subs
Dec 5, 2023 - BarBQ

It's Not Too Late to Register for SHARE New Orleans! Hotel Cutoff is July 14!

contributed By Ed Webb

"SHARE New Orleans combines renowned industry leaders, user-driven technical sessions, insights from colleagues, and hardware and software product highlights over the course of a week-long program. SHARE New Orleans attendance guarantees you access to the latest enterprise IT news [including z/OS 3.1], prominent industry leaders — including IBM and Broadcom executives — and product highlights on emerging technologies, bringing priceless value to your daily work."

Registration for SHARE New Orleans August 13-18, 2023 is still available. And you can get the SHARE room rate at Hyatt Regency New Orleans until Friday, July 14.

 Check out the SHARE New Orleans 2023 website for details including the Technical Agenda which was posted in June.

VS Code For Mainframe: Confessions Of A Career ISPF Programmer

contributed By Ed Webb

"The affinity developers have for their code editors/development environments is strong. Like tools used by master chefs or accomplished artists, they’re part of their professional identity.

Mainframe developers have used these tools, the time-honored ISPF and more recently Eclipse, to create the foundation on which many of today’s businesses run. These tools of the trade have served the community well.

However, a new tool has been transforming the software development landscape like none before it, Visual Studio Code (VS Code). Described as an overnight sensation a decade in the making, VS Code has raised the bar in terms of developer empowerment and productivity.

With it, developers are accomplishing things that are difficult or even impossible to do with legacy tools.

Now, with the introduction of the free and open Code4z extension pack, mainframe developers can reap the same benefits.”

Learn more about using VS Code and Code4z in this SHARE blog article by Peter Wassel of Broadcom.

Should You Be Worried About The Cloud?

Contributed by Ed Webb

".... The Commonwealth of Virginia, and more specifically, the region of Northern Virginia, is home to more than 20 percent (100) of all known hyperscale data centers worldwide. ... [This] data center nirvana snugly surrounds Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). IAD hosts 41 airlines that connect 57 international and 86 domestic destinations. .... IAD handles more than 300,000 tons of cargo per year. All in all, IAD is a stupendous success, you might think and applaud.

Not All That Glitters Is Gold?
And it is. Except for its location. Did you realize that the very lauded, globally leading data centers are located within a 10-mile radius of IAD? In fact, if you overlay the data center location maps with IAD maps, you will discover that literally all these data centers are located directly and fully under IAD's flight paths, in either direction. Now consider the fact that, beyond the vast amounts of aviation fuel housed on IAD's territory itself, each of these data center facilities stores enough diesel fuel for backup generators to require a dedicated major air source permit by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Do you see what I see? We have created the potential for an unprecedented inferno, and The Big Three painted a fat neon target for massive disaster on their data center backs and on your data inside them."

While this Enterprise Executive 2023: Issue 3 article titled "Is Your Head in the Cloud(s)?" sounds alarmist, it provides some interesting details on concerns that companies entrusting their business critical data to the cloud providers should be aware of. Read the entire article and you decide if it's alarmist.


Wit and Wisdom continued

contributed by Ed Webb

The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on.
The trouble with doing something right the first time is nobody appreciates how difficult it was.
Success is simply a matter of luck, just ask any failure.

Success usually occurs in private and failure in full view.
The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
If you’re yearning for the good old days just turn off the air conditioner.

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

7 p.m.

Location: Online

Information about access to our online meeting will be sent to our e-mail list by Tuesday, July 11.

Free Food before meeting: Your Food at Your Home


Insights You Can Gain from Integrated Visibility Across Types of SMF Data


by Todd Havekost, Senior z/OS Performance Consultant for IntelliMagic

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services


June 2023 Presentation outline

• Presentation Topic: Modern Analytics with Mainframe Monitoring

by Jim Porell of Rocket Software

Prep Questions for SPARTA
- Are you using either Docker or OpenShift zCX containers yet?
- Does anyone in your organization use an Analytics monitoring tool: Elastic, Splunk, Instana, Datadog, Dynatrace, etc?
- Do you attend the OMEGAMON Tech Summit virtual meetings? (Sep 2021, May 2022, Oct 2022)
- - Next one is June 27th
- Do you leverage the IBM Community for z AIOps?
- - IBM Community for z AIOps

Executive Summary
- Customers have already proven to benefit financially and reduce their time to resolve issues through AI and ML
- AI/ML is not a product…it’s technology that can be applied to any product
- OMEGAMON is embracing AI/ML to improve its handling of performance management
- Customer input is needed to improve the training of models. IBM and Rocket are looking for sponsor users for this new journey
- I want you to enjoy this…nothing earth shattering except where the new technology can take us!

• Agenda
- ODP re-visited – a demo
- - Elastic
- - Grafana
- - Mobile
- Instana
- - Youtube demo
- OMEGAMON AI Insights Demo

Challenges Across The Organization
- IT Manager
- “Performance problems seem to appear without warning and deep technical skills are hard to find.”
- Application Developer
- - “I have to keep up with application changes as we expand our markets worldwide and adopt more users.”
- LOB Manager
- - “I need to get my business results fast and accurate. What’s going on ?”
- CICS Sysprog
- - “I’m getting too many performance alerts. Need to be able to pinpoint the ones that are most important.”
- - “It is challenging to address performance issues with application workloads that always seem to be changing.”
- QA Manager
- - “We can’t test for changing workloads in today’s digital economy since we don’t have enough resources.”

IBM Z AIOps will focus on three primary use cases
- 3 pillars to enable IBM Z clients to adopt enterprise observability
- - Integrate with IBM Automation to enhance hybrid cloud Observability and Proactive Incident Management
- - Cross-portfolio integrations to reduce the time to resolve operational issues
- - Evolve AIOps by embedding analytics and AI across the solutions
- Observability framework
- - IBM Z
- - - Detect Proactively identify IT Operations issues
- - - Decide Rapidly perform root cause analysis with AI
- - - Act Collaboratively resolve critical IT issues through automation

OMEGAMON Data Provider Overview

Observability leads to Insights driving Decisions
- These insights can be used to drive decision making with regards to improving system performance as well as driving predicting analytics to solve potential problems before they fully manifest themselves.

OMEGAMON Data Provider Overview
- There is a wealth of subsystem data available within and across the OMEGAMON family today
- With businesses looking to leverage analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate processes and act on the myriad of operational data available within their enterprises.
- OMEGAMON Data Provider (ODP) serves OMEGAMON (attribute group) data to the destination or platform of your choice in a friendly and easily consumable format (JSON) – in near real-time
- This provides a pathway for OMEGAMON to participate in the world of AIOPs –operational analytics and machine learning
- Starter Elastic dashboards are provided to fast-track your take-up and implementation

OMEGAMON Data Provider
- Number of metrics possible
- - 8 OM products
- - 600+ tables
- - 18000+ fields**
- OMEGAMON Data Broker (CIDB)
- OMEGAMON Data Connect
- Publish Transfer Transform Filter Connect Enlighten


Outsourcer and Large Enterprise Value

Instana - Overview
- - Picture not copied

Open Data Provider
- Picture not copied
Candidates for exploiting ODP SDK
- Db2 Query Monitor – work committed to IBM Data
- CICS, Db2, IMS Task History and Accounting (in progress)

Data and AI on IBM Z Data and AI on IBM Z
Event trace data diagrams not copied

Bridge the skills gap with modern user experiences … optimized for the right user role
- DevOps Team: Operator, Admin, Collaborative problem resolution
- IBM Z ChatOps: Collaborative problem resolution integrated in your chat platform
- IBM Service Management Unite
- IBM Z Systems Management Tools

Where to find out more
- Announcement Letter – November 9th, 2021: Here
- Product Documentation
- - ODP Installation and User’s Guide: Here
- - Open z Data Demo content and guide on GitHub: Here
- - Instana Observability for IBM z/OS: Here
- Blogs
- - Introduction to ODP: Here
- - Installation considerations for ODP: Here
- - Now streaming CICS and Db2: Here
- - CICS & Db2 Dashboards available: Here
- - Usage Examples of ODP: Here
- - Now streaming IMS and JVM: Here
- Video - - 8+ minute overview video: Here
- Master Blog that points to all of these (bookmark this one): Here – This page is constantly updated

Sponsor User Opportunities - Influence the tools you are using!

Executive Summary
- Machine Learning algorithms are being added to OMEGAMON work streams to address consumption, thresholds and response time
- These will evolve over several functional updates, beginning with z/OS, Networks and JVM agents at the new V6.1 level:
- - KPI’s for z/OS identify anomalies in MSU usage resulting in $ Savings
- - KPI’s for Networks identify network anomalies that affect transaction volumes $’s lost
- - KPI’s for Java identify xxxx that affect yyyy that results in zzz
- - Why is this different than situations? Complimentary
- - - Additional algorithms and agents will be updated in the future
- - - Customer data and customer situations would be good to get

Two algorithms, similar anomalies- Diagrams not copied

OMEGAMON AI Insights Architecture – off z/OS
- Diagrams not copied

Share with us the challenges you are facing ...
- Do you face situations where ... ?

Get ML driven insights into your CPU consumption
- 01 Identify a production SYSPLEX to start with
- 02 Upload 3 months of SMF 70,72 for the selected environment
- 03 SMF records injected in the ML Insight Factory
- 04 Presentation of the ML detected CPU consumption insights

Your contacts for the SMF upload
Jim Porell
- Principal Software Architect

Fabien Gautreault
- Engineering Manager

Ludovic Granger
- Product Owner

Step by step SMF upload procedure: Offer valid until 3Q 2023

Bonus Material Hints and Tips

IBM can help in your AIOps journey
- Assessment
- - Qualify for a free AIOps Assessment
- - Contact your IBM Representative or Luke de Kansky
- - -
- Handbook
- - Best practices for taking a hybrid approach to AIOps
- - -
- Collaborate
- - Register to gain access to Early Programs
- - - Client Feedback Program
- - - - xxURL
- Community
- - Join the IBM zSystems AIOps Community
- - -
- - Join the Monitoring and Observability community
- - -
- - -

Join Our Community of Experts!

Bringing together IT professionals to share their knowledge and expertise for leveraging AI-driven intelligence and IT Operations

Interact with subject matter experts and peers
Community topic discussions
Latest information -Blog postings
Notifications of events
Videos and Library content
AIOps on IBM zSystems Community

The presentation ended at about 8:15 P.M.